A 23-year-old woman has been jailed after poisoning her healthy daughter with cancer drugs and setting up a Facebook page to attract support and donations.
The Australian mother of two, who cannot be named to protect her child's identity, was sentenced to six years in jail after feeding the three-year-old girl toxic chemotherapy drugs for more than eight months.
She posted videos on YouTube and wrote about her daughter's "fight for life" on Facebook, attracting more than 8,000 supporters and A$500 in donations.
The girl, now five, suffered life-threatening illnesses, including bone marrow failure, and was treated in hospital on several occasions. Prosecutors said she had been put at an increased risk of infertility and an additional 1 to 2 per cent risk of developing some cancers.
She told her grandmother that she had been given the pills every four weeks to prevent her skin wrinkling.
A court in Brisbane was told that the mother bought the drugs online from Canada and set up a web page saying that her daughter needed a bone-marrow transplant. Health workers suspected the girl was being poisoned and advised police, who searched the mother's home and found a pill crusher and online receipts for the drug, which can be used to treat various cancers including leukaemia and breast cancer.
Judge Tony Rafter, in sentencing, said the crime was "incomprehensible" and that the mother was seeking to gain attention.
"You must have been aware of the serious harm you were causing to your daughter", the judge said. "Your daughter must have experienced pain and discomfort."
The woman pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm last October.
Catherine Morgan, her barrister, said the mother suffered from a rare mental disorder known as factitious disorder by proxy, which caused her to produce or exaggerate symptoms of someone in their care. The court heard she had previously faked symptoms to have her appendix removed.
The girl is now being cared for by her maternal grandmother.